New family sitcom goes down as fast and easy as tapioca. Emphasis is put on Gaby Hoffmann, daughter of Andy Warhol “superstar” Viva, playing the vivacious, conniving center of the piece. Program, up against CBS’ “Dave’s World,” has been advantageously sandwiched between “Fresh Prince” and “Blossom,” but it’d take a blockbuster to break up Monday’s CBS comedy lineup; “Someone Like Me” is fast-paced, witty but not dynamite.
Hoffmann plays Gaby, 11, who lives with attractive mom Jean (Patricia Heaton) , stepdad Steven (Anthony Tyler Quinn), older sister Sam (Nikki Cox) and 4 -year-old brother Evan (Joseph Tello). Gaby and Gaby’s choice friend Jane (Raegan Kotz) play off each other in traditional sitcom style, talk about stuff and plot ways to zip up their supposedly dull lives.
In the first edition, writer-creator Bruce Helford has Gaby lie to Steven about her evening’s plans, which involve Jane and sis Sam. Plans get goofed up and, as a good core to the show, Steven disciplines his stepdaughter for lying and she has to face the consequences.
The lesson’s a flop, since Jean partially buckles, but it’s an incident not often broached on TV — a stepparent’s position. Helford deals with it credibly, and the program, hardly a major jump forward in sitcomland, holds reasonably to reality and to youngsters’ problems — as well as their elders’ dilemmas.
John Whitesell’s direction is good, and during the course of the first half hour young Hoffmann plays down the tempting obnoxious-kiddie tinges in favor of being a wholesome girl. Heaton’s choice as the no-nonsense-but-loving mom and Quinn’s right as the stepfather. Cox and Kotz are good, and Garvin Eddy’s design for the program is acceptable.
Program’s of the recent outtake school of sitcoming in which actors are seen out of character during the crawl. With “Roseanne” it’s funny; with “Someone’s” Gaby, it’s just pushy. And a laugh machine would seem to be whooping up distracting chortles during this first half-hour.